Tyra Banks has addressed the online backlash of her early 2000’s hit series, “America’s Next Top Model,” after a clip of Banks chastising a contestant for her choosing not to make a suggested physical alteration resurfaced.
A video from a 2006 episode of the long-running series made its way around Twitter, causing fans to question how the series was ever a hit, in light of today’s constantly changing times. In the clip, the cycle 6 winner Dani Evans stood before Banks and the judges’ panel, and was sternly questioned by the supermodel about why she chose not to have her a gap in her teeth fixed during a dentist visit while on the show.
One might call it the video that launched a thousand clips, because it didn’t take long for more questionable examples of challenges and critiques from the earlier seasons of the show, which now is in syndication. Receipts pulled out by fans included models posing in blackface, a murder victim-themed shoot, and criticism of cycle 3 runner-up Yaya DaCosta’s “Africanness,” to name a few.
The “ANTM” creator herself since has responded to the onslaught of criticism, writing a short statement on Twitter acknowledging “the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments.”
“Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you,” Banks stated in a tweet. “Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”
Evans, who eventually compromised with Tyra on the show and closed her gap partially, has since responded to the controversy in a video posted on Instagram, saying that the entire confrontation was “set-up” to “be good for TV.”
She added in an explanation behind the reasoning, “I was not going to allow something that was physical on my face to stop me from getting out to make a better life for myself. I had a laser focus goal. Nothing or no one was going to stand in my way. It wasn’t about coping out. It was about understanding what holds weight and value in my life and teeth was not one of them.”